Would you like to learn more about the Stolen Generations? 

This is the story that Florence Onus and her family are part of. She decided to share her testimony with us. For sixty years, between 1910 and the 1970s, thousands of aboriginal children were been removed from their family. It was made legal by the policies of the foreign Australian government.

The impact on Florence’s family

In Australia, the family of Florence had suffered a lot, and this for four generations. Indeed, as many other, her great grandparents have been hit by the policies of protection and assimilation.

She tells us that they have been forced to leave their homeland’s tribe and had been deported to an aboriginal reserve. There, Florence’s mother and her siblings were sent to “group homes” at a very young age.

These institutions forced aboriginal children to assimilate into the white society. For example, Florence tells us that her mother had to live with the nuns and learn Catholicism with her two sisters. 

Stolen Generation children at the Kahlin Compound in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia in 1921 (source : Northern Territory Library)

Florence’s suffering

However, Florence has also been affected by these removals. She tells us she has been taken off her mum and sent to a local orphanage. Today, we know that these children were physically and sexually abused there.

The adults also taught them how to manage a house or to take part to the agricultural duties. Then, Florence and her siblings were sent to live with a foster family, where they had to do the chores around the house.

A message of hope

Florence explains that these crimes have caused an intergenerational trauma. The consequences for the Stolen Generations and their descendants are often alcoholism, homelessness and suicide attempts.

The healing journey seems to be without ending for many of the victims, despite the numerous therapies. Florence wishes that this part of the Australian History was more known, but she believes that a more developed education and awareness should make things better at a federal and state level.
A lot needs to be done so that everyone becomes aware of the Stolen Generations’ story.